BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The parent company for the Movie Tavern Citiplace location in Baton Rouge, a popular theater known for offering full meals, now confirms larvae were discovered inside an auditorium after the 9News Investigators started asking questions.
A former employee came forward to WAFB saying that while she worked there she discovered insects in one of the auditoriums. Jamyra Watson describes what she saw as maggots and claims that she reported the incident.
“It was so many of them so we knew it couldn’t have been good and we definitely knew it wasn’t healthy,” said Watson.
Her disbelief quickly led to action. She captured several videos of the bugs, saying her main concern was the customers.
“Every day it was kind of eating at me you know that there’s families eating in there, enjoying the movie and not knowing what they’re sitting next to,” Watson added.
WATCH VIDEO OF THE LARVAE HERE:
In one of the videos, top leadership with the company can be heard playing in the background in a welcome video for customers. Watson said the video was taken right before a movie played Monday, Aug. 23. It is one of two videos she says she took that night of the insects.
“This was 6:22 p.m. and this one is at 10 p.m. later on that night,” she said.
When Watson went to management about it, she claims employees were told to sweep up the bugs.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Watson why was it so important for her to take pictures and video of what she saw inside the theater. “Because I knew that they would try and downplay it of course and just try to brush it under the rug,” she answered.
The 9News Investigators reached out to the corporate office for the company that manages the Movie Tavern, Marcuse Theatres. A spokesperson for the company told WAFB’s Scottie Hunter they were first alerted about the bugs Wednesday, Aug. 21. The spokesperson also confirmed the company had experts from a third party come in to take care of the issue. The spokesperson says the issue was traced back to a bee’s nest that was found inside the wall of the auditorium and says that the auditorium was closed down from Saturday, Aug. 24 through Thursday, Sept. 5, while the bug situation was addressed.
The spokesperson later released a full statement which can be read below:
“On August 21, we were notified of possible larvae observed in one auditorium at the Movie Tavern Citiplace location. In response, we closed the auditorium to allow third-party professionals to determine the cause and treat the auditorium. The source of the problem was a bees’ nest that had formed behind the auditorium wall. The nest was removed, the entire auditorium re-treated, and the theatre reopened on September 5. We are happy the issue has been resolved.”
“I never heard anything like that, nothing,” Watson said. “I never heard anything about a bees’ nest.”
Watson now questions the timing of what her former employer is saying about everything. She says a picture, timestamped from Thursday, Sept. 12 shows the bugs still there, one week after the company tells WAFB everything was all clear.
“Sure enough, they were still in there. I took the picture and that’s when I contacted you guys,” said Watson.
Two days after taking that picture, Watson tells WAFB she was fired for taking off work and leaving the location short-staffed one night. The former employee says she can’t help but wonder if it had something to do with her going public.
“I just wanted the people to know. I wanted the community to know where they’re eating at and I want them and their kids to be safe,” she added.
WAFB also reached out for more specifics involving the incident, including which third-party company was responsible for removing the bugs from the theater, but have not gotten a response on that request.